The Chinese Communist Party reportedly fined a Catholic for providing a church venue for "illegal" Mass.
According to the Christian Post (CP), a hefty sum was paid by a Catholic Chinese, Huang Ruixun, to CCP authorities more than a month ago when his private chapel was used by the Wenzhou Diocese Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin who is only officially recognized by Vatican.
The 56-year-old Ruixun's chapel in Shao was used on March 16 by 20 Catholics. The CCP then sentenced Ruixun for hosting the bishop and for "providing him with lunch, a rest room, etc." He was then charged for "illegal religious activities" and sentenced with 200,000 Yuan or $30,000 as fine.
By definition, "unofficial bishops" pertain to those who are officially recognized by the Pope but not by the CCP and belong to the "underground Catholic church in China."
Since Zhumin was not recognized by the CCP, Ruixun was accused of violating the "principle of independence, autonomy, and self-administration of the Church in China" imposed by the CCP for those who were "ordained by a foreign institution," pertaining to the Vatican.
The Christian Post cited the Roman Catholic Pontifical Institute For Foreign Missions press agency in stating the official complaint against Ruixun indicate him as "facilitating illegal religious activities" which are against CCP regulations, particularly that which requires the use of places registered by the government for all religious activities.
AsiaNews added that the CCP's actions against Ruixun is but one of the recent examples on the Sino-Vatican agreement being "betrayed."
Unofficial bishops in China have experienced an increase in preventions in the performance of their ministry. The said bishops are placed either in house arrest, such as Bishop Jia Zhiguo, or detained in isolated locations. Some bishops are also fined and prevented from gathering with other bishops or members of the clergy. While some are "cut off from water, electricity, and gas," such as Bishop Guo Xijin.
As per AsiaNews, 10% of those in Zhejiang are Christians and have resorted to build private chapels in their property for their use, which is similar to that of Ruixun. AsiaNews added that the CCP regulation to use registered government locations for religious activities was practically new as it was only imposed in February 2018.
AsiaNews pointed out that Chinese Christians are now confused with the government since the chapel was in private property and "has all the regular permits to be used as a private chapel" but Ruixun was fined since CCP said "it was illegal." On top of this, it has been accustomed since the pandemic began that the chapels were used for praying in groups, leaving now the question if doing so is still allowed.
The CCP, as per AsiaNews, have now announced that the new "Administrative measures for religious personnel" will be enforced beginning May 1. This measure is said to require every religious figure in Catholic and non-Catholic faiths to respond to Article 3 of the CCP regulation.
Article 3 basically demands churches to teach communist propaganda to congregants. As per AsiaNews, it demands people to "Love the motherland, support the leadership of the Communist Party of China, support the socialist system, abide by the Constitution, laws, regulations and rules, practice the core values of socialism, adhere to the principle of independence and autonomous management of religion, and adhere to China's religious policy, maintaining unity national unity, ethnic unity, religious harmony and social stability."